March 03, 2007

Does it really matter?

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.

But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: it appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and Census records.

According to the research, one of Obama's great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 Census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of Obama's great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves.

I wonder if any genealogists can trace the roots of other Black Americans -- to see if their African ancestors assisted in the [West] African slave trade. After all, many tend to forget that this did indeed occur. Would this make any [Black] politician less ... palatable to the electorate if this was proved to be the case?

The records could add a new dimension to questions by some who have asked whether Obama -- who was raised in East Asia and Hawaii and educated at Columbia and Harvard -- is attuned to the struggles of American blacks descended from West African slaves.

"The twist is very interesting," said Ronald Walters, a political scientist who is director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park. "It deepens his connection with the experience of slavery, even if it deepens it on a different side of the equation."

Really? Because one of Obama's distant relatives may have owned slaves somehow makes him "less attuned" to the struggles of African-Americans? Obama -- himself of mixed parentage and obviously physically African-American-looking -- is now less familiar with the Black American struggle?

No wonder more and more people are sick of politics.

Posted by Felix at March 3, 2007 11:22 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

This is as obnoxious as those who tried to tar Romney because one of his ancestors practiced polygamy. it's wrong in both cases.

Posted by: Paul Smith at March 3, 2007 04:34 PM

Yes, my ancestors saw "No Irish Need Apply" signs all over New York City when they arrived which I why I have such a hard time during job interviews. I think with a large government check I might be able to put this painful past behind me and finally get on with my life. Won't someone think of the CHILDREN!?

Posted by: Duffy at March 5, 2007 09:18 AM